Beaded sea cucumbers live in depths of about 30 meters (Muller 1850). During the day, these light gray to light brown (Müller, 1850) worm-like creatures are found to be hanging out under old coral heads.
Beaded Sea Cucumbers are detritivores meaning they use their tentacles to sift through the seabed obtaining nutrients from decomposing plants, animals, and feces (Colin 1978: Wetzel 2001). Beaded sea cucumbers have two ways in which they obtain nutrients. The most efficient way for them to feed is by direct deposit. This is when they swipe their 8 to 30 tube feet tentacles over the sediments to pick up particles that settle from the above water. The second way is not as straightforward. Suspension feeding sea cucumbers have fine tentacles that are used to pick particles out of the water column during feeding.
Sea cucumbers, especially eggs and young larvae, are prey for fish and other marine life. Along with this, they are enjoyed by humans (especially in Asia) and some species are farmed as delicacies (Sea Cucumbers). Although they may seem vulnerable, their defense mechanisms are stunning. Sea cucumbers have a skeletal structure consisting of plates and spines. When attacked their skeletal structure becomes exposed making them difficult to eat. Another amazing defense technique includes expelling their organs and toxic substances (holothurin) through their anus in the direction of their predator. In one to one and a half weeks, the organs will have grown back.
Sea cucumbers do not have a brain but are still able to function similar to other marine life. Their nervous system is only made up of a ring and several nerves. Marine biologists believe that this makes them one of the most interesting creatures of the ocean.
Written By: Zakiya Johnson